Understanding Home Care & How To Know When It’s Right For Your Loved One

Home care is a rising trend among mature adults who require regular medical care and other assistance, but do not need the level of aid offered by hospitals and/or nursing homes. In other words, home care is for individuals who need basic medical assistance that can be provided by a professional in the comfort of their own home. For many, this is a popular alternative to having to leave their home and/or family behind, and it’s also a more economical choice in that it’s less expensive than some other healthcare options.

If you or someone in your family is considering the option of home care, it may help you to know that agencies providing this type of service are plentiful. From privately owned agencies to those offering care directly from hospitals, home healthcare professionals are trained to help individuals who desire professional care with all the comforts of home.

It is estimated that approximately 80% of seniors prefer in-home care as opposed to that offered in a nursing home or hospital. When choosing whether or not home care is right for you or someone you love, it’s important to consider the level of care that’s needed. For instance, some may choose 24-hour care, which requires a home care professional staying with the individual day and night in his/her home, while others may only need assistance during the day. For seniors who feel frightened or lonely at night, hiring a home care professional for these specific hours may also be a consideration.

When choosing a home care agency, it’s important to check the company’s history with the Better Business Bureau. In addition, it’s a good idea to confirm their license and/or training and certification practices for employees. This will help to ensure that you or your loved one receives the best care possible. Another significant deciding factor for choosing a home care agency is scheduling, which should be done at the convenience of the patient. It’s important that home care agencies adjust to meet the patient’s individual needs and to provide the ultimate in comfort. If you or a loved one is considering a home care option, make sure that the choice is right for the individual situation.

The information contained in this article is designed for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional medical and/or home care advice or recommendations. For additional information on this topic, consult with a physician or licensed home care agency.

Diversify Home Health, Home Care And Hospice Services To Secure Your Agency’s Financial Future

Have you ever heard the advice to not put all your eggs in one basket? Well the advice is good, especially if you are a Home Health, Home Care or Hospice agency. “Putting all your eggs in one basket” in the Home Health, Home Care or Hospice industry means having only one line of business. In today’s environment, one line of business is a dangerous path to walk. Already we have seen repeated cuts to the Home Health reimbursement formula, and Hospice is under scrutiny and will probably see some rather dramatic cuts in the future. Some Home Care (Private Pay) agencies are seeing a decline in both clients and hours, as well. Just as the chant “location, location, location” is cited for a business success, diversification is the same for agencies in the Home Health, Home Care and Hospice industry.

As a Home Health or Hospice agency, you may be asking how you can diversify. You already take private insurance, much of which doesn’t even cover your expenses. Where can you diversify?

Years ago, many Home Health agencies invested in private duty services. Unfortunately, many of them tried to run these agencies the same way they ran the Medicare-Certified agencies. This turned out to be a less than a financial success for them and, as a result, most of the agencies closed their Private Pay agencies or sold them. I was one of those administrators running both types of agencies. Fortunately, the corporation that owned the agency I managed understood the differences required to successfully operate these two very distinct businesses. As a result, the internal structures and systems for Private Pay were run with entirely different staff and procedures. Fortunately, the Private Pay agency was a financial success and a great partner for the Medicare business.

In today’s environment, it may be wise for Medicare agencies to look again at the Private Pay industry and invest in another line of business that will not be subject to the changes of CMS. This holds true for both Medicare Home Health and the Hospice agencies. The opportunities in a Private Pay agency are endless. The services offered are as open and vast as the community served will support. By using the lessons learned from the previous attempts to diversify into Private Pay, the new line of business makes the difference between surviving and thriving.

For Private Pay (Home Care) agencies, diversification is just as important. By having only one or two lines of business, you will very likely have some down times with loss of revenues. Diversification of services helps to diminish the effects of the decline on your personal care or live-in services. There are so many opportunities in the Private Pay arena, it really is a matter of finding out what your marketplace will support and then developing it in such a manner that your customers will see value and buy.

Over the years I have seen some very creative and innovative Private Pay agency owners create truly unique services that were well received by their communities. One agency had a very viable service line in cruise companions. They had a high end senior population that were used to cruises, but because of declines in health and abilities, many of the seniors could no longer travel. The agency developed a contract with a major cruise line where they provided the personal care workers or aides that accompanied the senior on the cruise. The client paid for all the related cruise expenses as well as the daily live-in rate for the aide. Reportedly a great time was had by all.

Another agency developed a Mom and Babe program that catered to the large number of young, educated families in their geographic area. The program retained the services of an OB-GYN RN, who made the first visit to the home the day after the mother was discharged from the hospital. The aide, who was a trained doula, also accompanied the RN on the first visit. The services were bundled into either 5- or 7-day, 12 hour/day packages that included the RN visit and the 5 or 7 days of the specialty aide. The aide not only cared for the mother and baby, but tended to the home and other children, allowing the new mother and baby to have bonding time. The aide planned and cooked the meals and did the laundry and light housekeeping so that the mother could rest. The program, as mentioned, was sold as a package and made great shower gifts. The aide was available on an hourly rate to continue services beyond the package if the family wished, or her services could be bought by the family directly for however long they were needed.

As you can see, there is no limit to what your agency can provide. With appropriate due diligence and an ability to listen to what your community is seeking and willing to pay for, you can do anything. If you’re ready to plan a more secure financial future for your agency, contact us today to discuss the many diverse opportunities that are awaiting you.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Homecare Company

Are you attempting to locate a professional homecare company? Do you think you will require the services of a homecare company in the future? If you have answered one or both of these questions with a “yes” then this article may well be of benefit to you as I am going to be writing about the things that one should consider when deciding upon which company to use.

Now it goes without saying that we would like to think that all of the service providers within this industry are of a very high quality and that they all provide a top notch service – unfortunately, in my personal experience, this is not always the case.

As a family we have recently been involved in discussions to also find a reputable home care company for my elderly Aunt who for many reasons has taken some what of a downward spiral – health wise. We, of course, have been doing our very best to care for her however a few months back it was becoming increasingly obvious that we would require additional help. As well as one-to-one help we were also in need of regular supplies of latex gloves and incontinence products such as incontinence pads to aid us with looking after her.

This is what we have found are the essential elements to choosing such a service:

1. Shop around so to speak – there are many companies to choose from and it is prudent to speak with as many of these as possible in order to make the correct decision.
2. Arrange to meet the providers in person. You can normally make an informed choice this way.
3. Enable the person in question, in our situation our Aunt, to meet your short list of prospective providers. For example our Aunt is quite a fussy lady and we want her to feel comfortable and happy with any person that is likely to care for her.
4. Seek references from their previous clients etc.

I hope this helps you to make an informed decision as it has for our family.

Homecare Agencies – How to Work With Or For a Healthcare Provider

There is a growing demand for in-home health care services for seniors in the United States. Full-service homecare agencies provide the necessary structure to connect private nurses and caregivers with individuals or families who need a little extra help at home. Understanding how these agencies work opens doors for nurses and specialists interested in a successful career in private homecare, and also generates a straightforward avenue for seniors or their loved ones to locate and hire reliable professionals.

Relying on Full-Service Homecare Agencies

If you find yourself in a situation where you need help caring for an aging parent, a homecare agency can help you make some important decisions. A few aspects you will need to consider are: affordability, level of family involvement, caregiver reputation, and professionalism.

Paying for specialized homecare is not cheap. Some seniors are fortunate enough to have saved the necessary funds to cover their medical tests, continued care, and supplies, but this is not always the case. Determine what your budget is, and talk to a representative at a homecare agency to find a solution that meets your needs. You may find that weekly visits are sufficient for a few years and that you can provide the remaining care for your loved ones, but as time progresses, you will need more and more help from specialized individuals with medical training that exceeds the routine care you could provide on your own.

How involved can your family be? Are all the adults in your family working full-time, or can someone be around to assist the elderly family members during the day? Are your aging parents still mobile? Can they be left unsupervised for 8-to-10 hours at a time? Perhaps a high-school aged grandchild can commit to checking in after school, preparing meals, or supervising medication schedules. The more time and attention that your family can provide, the less you will need to rely on an outside employee.

Finally, the greatest benefit of hiring a caregiver through a homecare agency is that strict screening and background checks guarantee that you are hiring a high-quality professional. These employees are likely to have lots of experience and a long-standing reputation within the industry.

Seeking Employment with a Homecare Agency

Full-service homecare agencies are a two-way street. The ultimate success of these providers depends on having a reliable database of experienced nurses and homecare practitioners. If you are a nursing school student, or already hold a position as a nursing staff, you may consider the personal rewards and benefits that come with working in the private health care sector.

You will have more scheduling flexibility when you pursue a job in senior homecare services. Most seniors need only limited help around the house as they age, and jobs are available that amount to only a few afternoons a week. As your clients put in the effort to retain their independence, you will work on the sidelines to provide the necessary support. The beauty is that you will develop strong professional relationships that can lead to long-term positions with these clients. You can increase the frequency with which you visit these individuals and modify your services to reflect any changes in their activity levels and health needs. Helping these seniors to age gracefully while maintaining a high quality of life is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in the healthcare profession.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4176381

A Homecare Provider Helps Seniors Age Independently

As our population ages, medical advances are enabling many seniors to live longer, fuller lives than ever before. Exciting travel, new hobbies, making friends-your golden years can be your chance to experience all those things you’ve been saving up for.

And with new medical advances, it can be difficult when you realize that a family member is no longer quite as independent as before. People rarely change overnight from complete self-sufficiency to needing round-the-clock care. There is a transition that can last years when a senior may only need help for a few hours a day or a few days a week.

Homecare services can help you bridge this transition. Hiring a licensed homecare provider can keep your family member in her home for longer and for less money than nursing home placement would cost.

The Benefits of Homecare Services

There are many advantages to hiring a homecare provider to help your loved one age independently:

• Familiar surroundings. In some cases, as a person ages, change can become difficult or confusing. A home that has been lived in for years can provide a much needed touchstone and anchor.

• The comforts of home. Whether your family member has an active social life and is always on the go, or whether she is a homebody who enjoys puttering around the garden, living in her home brings with it an added level of freedom and privacy.

• Self-determination. Nursing homes determine the schedules, menus, and staffing for their residents. But in her own home, your family member will have control over her own schedule, her own meals, and who she chooses to work with from the homecare provider.

• Better socialization. A personal home is just more welcoming than a nursing home. Hosting family dinners or afternoon teas for friends is easier in your own house.

• Personalized care. In a nursing home, the staff members’ attention is divided between many different people at the same time. But with homecare services, your family member receives one-on-one assistance.

One Client, One Homecare Provider

Every senior’s needs are different. Some may be suffering from an illness such as dementia or Alzheimers. Some may have a physical disability that limits movement. And some may simply need physical assistance with chores and getting around town. A homecare provider can provide you with an in-house aide who is a specialist in your family member’s condition, and will treat her with respect and caring.

Additionally, when there are only one or two persons providing care to your family member, communication is easier and mistakes in treatment are rarer. Your homecare aide isn’t looking at a chart; they are looking at your family member and will be more alert to any changes in her condition.

Recovery and Short-Term Care

Homecare services are also available for short-term care, such as during a convalescence after surgery or other hospital procedure. Caring for your family member in her own home can be significantly less expensive than the cost of keeping her in the hospital to recover, especially since Medicaid does cover many licensed homecare providers.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7372095

Keeping pace with industry trends

While stand-up pouches continue their march towards flexible packaging domination, and for good reason, they do pose a challenge for some coding and marking equipment.
Keeping pace with industry trends
Globally, brand owners are widely adopting stand-up pouches as producers can easily customise the size, shape and fitments to meet product, marketing and branding requirements. Stand-up pouches take up less storage and transportation space, offer excellent barrier properties and increase visibility on shelf for food, beverages, healthcare, personal and homecare, DIY and agricultural products.

Stand-up pouches have also been widely accepted by consumers who, according to industry studies, prefer their aesthetics, convenience and user-friendly fitments. More than ever, consumers are aware of the ethical and environmental impact of the products they purchase. Because pouches weigh less than rigid packaging formats, shipping costs are lower and brands can showcase their environmental responsibility.

Additionally, stand-up pouches make a statement at retail, and last year 165-billion were used at retail globally. Their annual growth rate is pegged at 7% and estimated to increase to 222-billion units by 2018. Africa has 5% of the global market.

There’s no question then that stand-up pouches are here to stay. However, they do create a challenge for coding and marking operations.

The supply chain, a complex system of interconnected operations, forms the lifeblood of the FMCG industry. While there are many tools in use to manage the supply chain effectively, without accurate and efficient coding and marking, performance cannot be accurately measured. Coding and marking on primary, secondary and tertiary packaging ensures that the correct information is coded onto the right product to be read and verified without errors. Accurate coding and marking gives brand owners control, and ensures the authenticity and traceability of products throughout the value chain.

The structure of pre-made stand-up pouches can make them difficult to code. According to Brandon Pearce, Pyrotec PackMark’s General Manager, non-contact continuous inkjet (CIJ) technology is a good solution for this application. “CIJ coding is ideal for coding small amounts of information, such as use by dates, traceability codes, logos and batch codes, as it efficiently copes with varying pack sizes and shapes while keeping up with line speeds,” he explains.

For larger amounts of information, thermal transfer overprinters can be used to print onto the film before the package is formed. While offline coding is sometimes recommended for stand-up pouches, Pearce offers a word of warning. “Offline coding should only be done simultaneously as the packer fills the bag – the unit is placed on the conveyor where the CIJ printer codes the product. This does not pose any traceability issues because the packaging is coded immediately. However, if these pouches are coded before filling, this could create mix ups on the packing line relating to products’ traceability, incorrect dates and batch codes.”

Pyrotec PackMark provides a complete portfolio of world-class coding equipment for every category of packaging, including primary, secondary and tertiary coding and labelling solutions. “We offer a complete concept-to-application service that is cost-effective and practical, and our technicians are on hand to assist customers select the best coding, marking and labelling solutions to suit their requirements,” Pearce concludes.

South Africa cleaning up its act

The growth and the potential of the washing powder industry, in South Africa, has drawn the attention of major players in the laundry care market; making news recently is the entry of Ariel, a Procter & Gamble brand, into the South African washing powder market. Ariel’s entry has sparked the “Washing Powder Wars” whereby the major washing powder brand houses such as Unilever and Tiger Brands have increased their marketing budgets, embarking on campaigns to win and retain customers.
According to Analytix BI’s latest report, “South African Brand Report: Purchasers of Washing Powder”, the percentage of purchasers who purchased washing powder in the past four weeks had increased from 64.1% in 2009 to 68.0% in 2013.

In 2013, approximately 24.8 million South Africans (16+ years) had purchased washing powder in the past four weeks. The report goes on to forecast a total of 29.6 million purchasers by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7%.

South Africa cleaning up its act
click to enlarge

Unilever, which houses the Sunlight, OMO, Surf and Skip brands, has dominated the South African market for over 100 years. According to the report, in 2013, Sunlight was the most popular washing powder brand with 36% of South African consumers (+16 years) purchasing it most often, followed by OMO with 33% and MAQ with 16%.

JSE-listed Tiger Brands Limited reported that consumer brands, including homecare products such as its washing powder brand, Bio-Classic, contributed 39% to overall group turnover in 2013, generating approximately R577.3 million in turnover. The Analytix BI report demonstrated that South African adults (+16 years) who purchased Bio-Classic most often had decreased from 2% in 2010 to 1% in 2013. Tiger Brands relaunched Bio-Classic during 2013 with new packaging and two additional variants, concentrated liquid detergent and a concentrated stain and grease remover, in the hopes of increasing Bio-Classic’s market presence.

With the major players competing on price, value and innovative technologies, South African consumers are coming out on top, benefiting from a choice of a wider variety of cheaper and multifunctional washing powders.

These and other results are available in Analytix BI’s latest report, “South African Brand Report: Purchasers of Washing Powder”. This report provides a comprehensive purchaser profile of the Washing Powder category as well as a detailed segmentation by brand, namely: OMO, Sunlight, MAQ, Skip, Surf, Bio Classic, JIK, Bingo and Vanish.

The purchaser analysis is based on the latest annual consumer survey among a nationally representative sample of more than 25,000 people – All Media and Products Survey conducted by the South African Advertising Research Foundation.

The 95-page PowerPoint report is available for purchase for R9,900 (excluding VAT) at www.analytixbi.com. Visit the Analytix Business Intelligence site to view the brochure and order form. Alternatively contact us directly on (011) 325 6363 or email us at [email protected]

SOME KEY QUESTIONS THE REPORT WILL HELP YOU TO ANSWER:

Who are the key players and brands in the market and how are they positioned?
What are the important global and local market trends that should be included in your business strategy?
What is the size of the market and consumer purchasing trends (2009-2013) and what is the purchaser forecast for 2014-2018?
What are the brand penetration trends (2009-2013) for key brands in the market?
Who are the purchasers of washing powder? What are geo-demographic trends among purchasers (2009-2013)? e.g. age, gender, affluence, life-stage, geographics
What are the purchasing patterns among purchasers of washing powder? Which are the popular food and grocery stores for bulk, fill-up and convenience shopping?
How do you engage with your purchasers via cellphone and the Internet?

About Analytix Business Intelligence

Analytix Business Intelligence is a market research company that conducts integrated quantitative and qualitative research to deliver holistic consumer-centric insights, customer value propositions and marketing strategy.

Our strength in quantitative surveys and analysis is enriched by significant expertise in gaining qualitative insights from ethnographic-style, in-home research to provide a 360-degree understanding of the consumer. We ensure you have the right information-based foundation to create successful marketing and communication strategies. In addition to a comprehensive desk research service, we have more than 75 affordable, pre-packed consumer intelligence reports that are created by expert analysts – saving your valuable time and resources.

Astrapak strong after restructuring

Astrapak’s balance sheet is the strongest it has been in about four years, despite a widened interim loss, management says..
Astrapak’s Robin Moore says that the company has been through its restructuring phase and will return to profitability in the next year or so. Image: Astrapak
Astrapak’s Robin Moore says that the company has been through its restructuring phase and will return to profitability in the next year or so. Image: Astrapak
The plastic packaging company is nearing the end of a two-year restructuring, though costs to rationalise the business have been offset by the sale of properties and other assets.

Finance Director Manley Diedloff said that since Astrapak’s restructuring began, its debt-to-equity ratio had fallen from 56% to 29.6% while its net working capital position had continued to improve.

Astrapak reported a headline loss of R40.1m for its six months to August, weighed down by restructuring costs and a cost to the company of SA’s manufacturing strike, which it put at R30m.

The company’s revenue from continuing operations grew 3.5% to R1.15bn.

For the final six months of Astrapak’s restructuring, its plans include closing its Denver facility and consolidating two Eastern Cape-based plants into one.

The restructuring sees Astrapak gradually shifting away from a 50:50 split between flexible and rigid plastics, to a 75:25 split in favour of rigids.

Growth and consolidation

“We are positioning ourselves in the right markets for growth,” said Chief Executive Robin Moore.

He said that while the restructuring was expected to yield “optimised returns” in 2018, earnings were expected to improve from the next financial year.

Meanwhile, he said, Astrapak was relatively comfortable with the imminent entrance of two European plastic packaging manufacturers in SA. “We are not competing head-on with them,” he said, adding that Astrapak had adjusted its portfolio ahead of their debut.

The foreign competitors supplied products to the homecare sector, which Astrapak was exiting with the closure of its Denver facility.

Astrapak would also use some of the assets from the facility more effectively in other operations.

While the weaker rand was driving up polymer and other input costs, Moore said Astrapak had been successful in recovering cost increases through higher selling prices.

The company said in a statement that the difficult trading environment, real or imagined, is no longer an excuse for hiding lack of competitiveness.

“The second half of the year to February 2015 will mark the final phase of the turnaround,” Astrapak said. “We have some more tidying up to do, and with that is certain to come further costs.”

Your Homecare Agency Options

When it comes to locating good homecare agencies Hamden ct has to offer, it will be necessary to first go online so you will be able to review your options. The internet can offer you an endless expanse of information which will be extremely valuable in helping you to decide on a certain agency. The more time you spend doing this type of research online, the more likely it will be that you will get exactly what you are looking for. There are going to be all kinds of options for you to look at with regards to these agencies in the area, so make sure you know exactly what your options are like.

With the right homecare agency, you will be able to know that there is someone adequately skilled and qualified to look after the person you love. No matter what kind of disability or illness they have, you will be able to find a homecare agency that will be able to take care of them completely. Before you decide on any one in particular though, you will need to make sure that they can be trusted and have a good overall reputation in the immediate area.

Keep in mind that a good homecare agency is going to have plenty of experience, so make sure the one you depend on and hire has been around for a while. This way you will be able to get exactly what you need in terms of high quality at-home healthcare services. The more time you invest in researching these agencies the better, so keep that in mind before making a final decision on one. You will not want to settle for anything less than the best when it comes to healthcare for your loved one at home.

A good homecare agency will also employ only the best healthcare workers. You will need to consider your family member’s specific needs before hiring anyone, because this will be an important factor in making your final decision. If your loved one has a serious complicated illness and needs daily help and treatment, it will be important to make sure that the person you get for the job is fully qualified. You will absolutely need to be able to trust the agency you choose to send only the best people to help the person you are looking to get assistance for.

Those who wish to look at some of the better homecare agencies Hamden ct can offer will need to spend a decent amount of time browsing the web and looking at websites for certain ones in the area. You will actually be able to learn quite a bit by simply looking at the websites for these agencies; they will be able to give you the cost of care, profiles of staff members, and other important information you will want. It will be crucial to take all the time you need to find the right homecare agency for the person you love so you can get them the help they need as soon as possible.

What To Look For While Choosing Home Care?

There are home care services or agencies owned by individuals, family- run businesses, hospitals, corporations and physician groups. When you are considering a home care for the elder one in the family, you should know who manages the day to day activities of the agency. It is better to select home care agencies run by hospitals and physician groups. They will be able to provide the necessary facilities needed for taking care of the aged ones. There are agencies which are run for profit and non- profit ones, run by religious groups and community based organizations. The non- profit agencies are much cheaper than the other but, make sure that the agency has the necessary facilities before making the selection.

Skill
When selecting the home care consider whether skilled care is needed for the person or unskilled care is enough. Usually home care agencies run by hospitals provide skilled care. For some people, who are recovering from diseases or other health problems, physicians ask to provide skilled services like skilled nurses, occupational therapy, speech therapy etc. For such people selecting home care agencies which provide skilled care is necessary. Non- skilled homecare is provided by agencies that perform supportive care. This is to provide support to the people who need care. Home makers, certified or non- certified nurses, companions and relatives of the person etc can give non-skilled care. Agency providing skilled home care should have a license. Usually non- medical and non- skilled homecare agencies do not require license. If you are selecting the skilled home care, look for the qualification of the staffs. It also requires experience to take care of persons who needs medical care.

Reputation
It is necessary to select a home care service that has recognition in the community. Reputation of the home care agencies matters most, when hiring the service. You can ask for references by your friends or relatives and can also seek the help of local community organizations in finding the reputed home care services in your area. Hospitals and social workers will also help to find out the best reputed services in your area.

Payment
Payment is made according to the contract made with the agency. The payment differs according to the type of care, whether skilled or non skilled, the time of care required and the frequency of the care. Some people require 24 hour service for every day and some require intermittent visits only. With the help of the home care services, elders can avoid the need for hospitalization. Usually the service is provided on a private � pay basis. You can select the type of home care services you want by giving your choices in the websites that provide search facilities for home care services. You can search for the local service available in your area by using internet and you can get the information about the training given to the staff and the other services provided by them. By going through the profile of the agencies you can select the best one for your need.